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Boise Dentist Blog

The professional blog of Doctors Dan Bruce, Steve Bruce, Rosa Pothier and Rob Ririe

Advantages of implants

Advantages of implants I have talked to two people in our practice in the last week about dental implants.  These people questioned whether or not they really needed to replace a missing tooth anyway.  Here is my response: There are two types of bone in your jaw--cortical and alveolar bone.  Alveolar bone is what holds the teeth.  When a tooth is lost, over time the alveolar bone is also lost.  Basically, if you don't use it, you lose it.  If the alveolar bone is lost all the way to the cortical bone, a number of things can happen.
  • The adjacent teeth can tip to fill the space, causing bite problems and spaces in other teeth.
  • The opposing tooth can erupt into the space, causing periodontal pocketing and root exposure.
  • Roots of the adjacent teeth can be exposed, making them susceptible to decay and periodontal problems.
  • The bone in the jaw can become thin to the point that fractures are more likely in later life.
  • The bone between the mouth and the sinus can become so thin that future implant placement is not possible in the future without a sinus grafting procedure.
  • The shifting of the teeth can have a major aesthetic effect, even if the missing tooth is not visible.  Teeth will shift to fill the gap, causing changes in all areas of the mouth.
I had one person ask me, "People have lost teeth for a long time and done just fine.  Why do I need to have my tooth replaced?" The part about people losing teeth for a long time is true, but it also caused many problems.  Tooth loss reduces chewing efficiency and was a reason for poor nutrition and ultimately contributed to death long ago.  Implants can maintain the integrity of the arch and keep things were they should be.  They are truly one of the greatest advances in dentistry this century, and I am very excited to be part of implant dentistry!